It wasn’t until he accomplished the takeover that he became standoffish with the press, who now had to follow his every move. For me, it was different. My job at Congressional Quarterly was to cover him before and after he became Speaker. Newt then, and now, liked talking to reporters because he thought that he could manipulate and use them. In that respect, he was just like Barney Frank (although the two would never admit how alike they actually are).
 
Fast forward to 2012. It’s no surprise to hear that Newt, a long-shot presidential candidate, had good relations with the crew assigned to cover him. Without money and a large campaign staff, the media is (once again) his tool to use. Now that he’s the alternative to Mitt Romney and getting lots of attention (just not the type he wants) he falls back to the standoff-ish “how dare you” critic of the media.
 
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Don’t believe it. Believe that the same day Newt is decrying the liberal media, he’s cozying up to them in the lobby of the campaign hotel. Don’t be surprised if he’s already sent a message to John King saying his debate attack wasn’t meant to be personal. For Newt, this is all a combination of business, theater and an act. And he’s happy as long as he’s getting attention. Years ago, when Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson Clinton'Vice' director Adam McKay torches Bill Clinton, would choose Trump over Bush Gorka: John F. Kennedy wouldn't be allowed in Democratic Party Election Countdown: Abrams ends fight in Georgia governor's race | Latest on Florida recount | Booker, Harris head to campaign in Mississippi Senate runoff | Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority MORE, another self-destructive politician, was in full Monica drama, a colleague who knew him well said that Clinton so needed drama that if none existed, he’d find a way to create it.
 
Gingrich and Clinton come from a generation of Baby Boomers who, when faced with a choice, don’t ask “Should I do this?” but instead ask “Can I do this?” And we know how that’s worked out for both of them.
 
In the end, Gingrich’s diatribe about the media doesn’t matter to him because it is about attention, and the truth is a nuisance if it gets in the way. A long time ago, I was watching Newt on C-SPAN. It interested me because I was going to be the guest the next night and wanted to check the topics. Newt was asked whether or not his sister Candace was writing a book. He denied it and said that it was actually his mother who had a book in mind. That surprised me, and given I’d talked to his mother a few times, I called her the next day.  She responded, “That wacky Newty, I’m not writing a book.” I mentioned it to the show producer the next night, and she relayed how Newt laughed afterwards about how he’d made the whole thing up.
 
That was Newt. As long as everyone was watching the show, the facts didn’t matter.

Tom Galvin is CEO of 463 Communications. Previously, he was a columnist and correspondent for 12 years covering Congress and presidential campaigns for Congressional Quarterly, New York Post and the New York Daily News.